The researchers describe this as a paradigm shift in how to view the disease and say tailoring treatment to the different types could be more beneficial for patients than current treatment methods.
He said that this would lead to more precise diagnosis and treatment of diabetes tailored to individual needs.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease.
Cluster 1: Severe autoimmune diabetes, or "type one" diabetes, people stop producing insulin.
She included: "This examination steps toward separating type 2 diabetes in more detail, yet regardless we have to find out about these subtypes before we can comprehend what this implies for individuals living with the condition".
In regards to disease-related complications, clusters 3, 4, and 5 were typically prescribed the same diabetes treatment.
And each comes with significantly different characteristics and risk of complications, they found.
The outcomes, distributed in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, demonstrated the patients could be separated into five particular groups.
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Currently, diabetes is classified based mainly on age of diagnosis (younger people often have type 1) and on the presence or absence of antibodies that attack beta cells, which release insulin. Type 1 is a disease of the immune system, where the body cannot manufacture the hormone insulin and although it is most commonly diagnosed in child patients, it can develop at any age. It is usually diagnosed in childhood and is caused by the body's immune system wrongly destroying cells in the pancreas that make insulin. And two other clusters, Mild Age-Related Diabetes (MARD) and Mild Obesity-Related Diabetes (MOD) seemed to be more benign forms of diabetes.
Critics of the research point out that the study was only of Scandinavians and does not take into account increased risk among populations in South Asia, where they are twice as likely to develop diabetes compared with people from white European backgrounds.
Today, about 425 million people around the world have diabetes.
The researchers later repeated the analysis in three studies from Sweden and Finland. This group had a low proportion of patients taking metformin, although the authors say they would be expected to benefit the most from the drug.
The researchers also report that numerous people in the studies were not receiving appropriate treatment, suggesting that a more individual approach to the disease could be beneficial.
Another group facing serious complications was composed of relatively young, insulin-deficient patients. Most diagnosed cases are type 2 (75-85%).
"O$3 ur data suggest that the combined information from a few variables central to the development of diabetes is superior to measurement of only one metabolite, glucose", Ahlqvist said.
The researchers are also planning to launch similar studies in China and India with people of different ethnic backgrounds.
Researchers did not observe between-cluster differences for age- and sex-adjusted coronary event and stroke risk, and no genetic variant was associated with all the clusters.